Roger Federer: 5 Reaons Fed-Ex Will Redeem Disappointing 2011 Campaign
For the first time in what seemed like more than a century, Roger Federer didn't take home a Grand Slam title.
For most players on tour, reaching a Grand Slam Finals, two Semifinals and a Quarterfinals would be a career year. For a 16-time Grand Slam champion? Not so much.
Federer made sure to end his disappointing 2011 campaign on a high note winning the Barclay's ATP World Tour Final and finishing with 22 wins in his last 23 matches.
Here are five reasons Federer will redeem his disappointing 2011 campaign, starting with the Australian Open.
1. 21-Match Winning Streak
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One way to know Federer is back? Going back to last year and including his first-round win in the Australian Open, Federer is riding a 21-match streak which is the longest active current win streak on tour.
Since losing to Tomas Berdych in the Cincinnati Masters Series, Federer is 26-1 with his sole loss coming to Novak Djokovic in a tough five setter in the US Open Semifinals.
2. How Disappointing Is Disappointing?
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Sure, Federer uncharacteristically didn't win a major. But was his year really all that bad? Actually no, it wasn't.
In 2011 Federer won four tournaments which is one less than the five he won in 2010 and tied with the four each he won in 2009 and 2008. The only difference was in each of those other three years, one of his wins was a Grand Slam.
Still, a finals appearance and two other semifinals appearances are not too shabby. The only real shocker was bowing out to Tsonga in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon.
Overall Federer went 64-11, which might not be Federesque compared to his 2006 and 2007 days, but is certainly not a down year.
Riding the momentum of his current winning streak, expect even better numbers for 2012.
3. Quality of Wins
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It wasn't just the quantity of wins that should encourage Federer fans, it was the quality.
Federer closed the season with wins over Tsonga (four times), Tomic, Roddick, Wawrinka, Berdych, Gasquet, Fish, Ferrer and most importantly, his nemesis Nadal. His only loss was to Djokovic.
That's seven wins against eight top-10 opponents and four straight wins over top-20 opponents.
Critics assert Federer is in decline but when he is beating his fellow top players, including Nadal, with such regularity, it's a tough claim to defend.
Rolling his first three opponents in 2012 before having to withdraw because of tightness in his back, it doesn't look like Federer is slowing down at all.
4. The Greatness of Nadal, Djokovic and Murray
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As great as Federer is, he's never again going to put together the incredible runs he did in 2005-2007. Not because of his age, but rather because the competition is so tough.
Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and Murray are the best and deepest top-four seeds the tour has ever seen.
Losing three times to Nadal and four times to Djokovic, who was as hot early in the season as anyone has ever been, is nothing to be ashamed of. Especially when you remember how Federer served for the match twice against Djokovic and uncharacteristically choked, letting Novak off the hook.
It says something that seven of 11 of Federer's losses were against those two players. More of a statement was that he beat both of those guys in what everyone agrees was his down year and definitely should have beat Djokovic twice.
Playing as well as he is right now, Federer is primed to beat them again during the Australian Open and beyond.
5. Nothing Motivates Federer Like Critics
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He won't admit it, but nothing drives Federer like criticism and the claims that he is done and washed up. Need proof? Look what he did to Jo Wilfried Tsonga after back-to-back unexpected losses to Tsonga in the Quarterfinals of Wimbledon and the third round of the Montreal Masters Series. He went for four straight win dropping only two of 11 sets.
The World Championships especially were a warning to the rest of the tour that Federer is still around and still a force to be reckoned with.
He might be 30, but he's still feeling good and still one of the top-three players in the world.
We probably won't ever see a season like Federer posted in 2007, but don't be surprised in Federer takes home one or two more Grand Slam trophies this season.